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7 Facts You Didn’t Know About St. Maarten

The Caribbean Sea is home to over 700 islands, reefs, and islets. In it all, St. Maarten undoubtedly stands as one of the top places in the region. With its offerings such as multiculturalism, a wide array of beaches, and exotic cuisine, it has become one of the most visited Caribbean countries in recent years.

So if you’re planning to visit this small country, chances are you’ll eventually want to move to St. Maarten. Here are seven wonders of St. Maarten that you didn’t know about.

One Island, Two Governments

St. Maarten and Saint Martin are two halves of the island jointly owned by the Dutch and the French. The south half, St. Maarten, is an independent territory of the Netherlands, whereas France owns the northern half.

Smallest Co-Shared Land

St. Maarten is the smallest area in the world that’s co-showed by two countries. With a total covered area of 87 kilometers square, St. Maarten is the smallest inhabitant island as well as the only of this size to have two different governing bodies.

Oldest Open Border

Ever since the treaty of Concordia in 1648, the Dutch and French have kept open borders in St. Maarten, thus making it the oldest open border in the world. Tourists may notice border monuments on both sides of the island but can freely move from one part to the other.

Capital with a Beach

Phillipsburg is the capital of St. Maarten, it was founded by a Scottish captain employed in the Dutch navy named John Philips in 1763, and it has its own beach!

St. Maarten Island

Beach with an Airport

If you live in St. Maarten, you’ll often notice a plane landing or taking off right over you at the beach. The Princess Juliana International Airport has its runway alongside the beach; hence beachgoers in St. Maarten are often pictured with low-flying aircrafts on the beach. Again, this is the only place in the world where this happens.

Hundred Cultures

According to St. Maarten’s government, the country hosts over a hundred different nationalities and cultures in a population of less than a hundred thousand. This makes St. Maarten one of the smallest yet richest multicultural populations in the world. Due to this reason, you can enjoy a huge range of cuisines in the country.

Strong Sea Hold

Due to its unique geographic location and strong ties to the European and North American countries, St. Maarten is the hub of sea transport and home to many cargo companies. The exports and imports of some of the world’s biggest manufacturers are carried out from here.

Make St. Maarten Your Home

If you want to enjoy life to the fullest in a country that’s vibrant, ethnically rich, and offers great opportunities, immigrate to St. Maarten with our immigration consultancy services at BrightPath Caribbean. Get in touch today to get started and acquire St. Maarten’s residency permit in no time.

Six of the Best Places to Retire in the Caribbean

Clear blue waters, warm and shiny white beaches, and a slow-paced life that’s far stretched from the hustle and bustle of metropolitans are what all retirees long for, and the Caribbean offers it. If retiring in the Caribbean is your true calling, then this is the blog you should be reading today.

Whether you’re far from the retirement stage and like to plan ahead, or you have come to the point where a decision has to be taken immediately, we’ll help you find the land of your dreams. With over 700 islands spread across the region, you too can find a home in the Caribbean where you can spend the retirement life you’ve always imagined.


Home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a small country with a population of less than half a million. The country’s biggest tourist destination in Belize City, which is also a great place to settle for retirees. Tax exemptions, business opportunities, and multiculturalism of Belize make it a great place for people who want to enjoy a beachy life but want to hold on to the urban lifestyle.

St. Maarten

Part Dutch and part French, St. Maarten is the smallest inhabitant island in the world. Duty-free shopping, upscale neighborhoods, and booming tourism are some of the best features of St. Maarten. If you’re a retiree who wants to enjoy a cultural and social hub in the Caribbean, then head over to St. Maarten to enjoy exotic cuisine, buzzing nightlife, and an array of investment opportunities.


Just across St. Maarten’s is Anguilla Island. Offering tax exemptions on capital gains and personal income, the country is another one of the British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. Restaurants, resorts, and the year-long warm temperature of Anguilla make it another favorite retirement destination in the Caribbean.

Immigrate to the Caribbean

St. Kitts and Nevis

If you want to immigrate to the Caribbean and want to enjoy a rustic, slow-paced, and town-like vibe, then St. Kitts and Nevis is the place to be. The island offers tax exemption on inheritance and foreign income as well the oldest Citizen by Investment Program for as low as $150,000.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and its sister island Barbuda are two of the most affordable places to live in the Caribbean. Not only can you obtain extended stay permits, but you can also apply for citizenship through investment. The island also offers a second passport to its permanent residents and tax exemptions.


Marketed as the ‘Nature Island’ of the Caribbean, Dominica is one of the most forested lands located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. So for retirees who want to enjoy beaches, rains, forests, and mountains altogether, Dominica offers everything.

Retire in the Caribbean

If you are looking for a reliable retirement consultant in the Caribbean, then get in touch with us at BrightPath Caribbean. We offer immigration consultancy, relocation services, and retirement services in the Caribbean.


Here How’s You Can Buy Land in St. Maarten

Buzzing nightlife, upscale neighborhoods, and home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, St. Maarten is the perfect choice to relocate or invest in. The 37 square mile island is the smallest known island in the world, and immigration to St. Maarten is comparatively easier than in other Caribbean countries.

In case you have been looking to relocate to St. Maarten or want to invest in one of the best islands in the Caribbean, this blog is your ultimate guide. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying property in St. Maarten right here.

St. Maarten or Saint Martin?

If you go online and look up St. Maarten, you’ll find what you’ll assume to be two spellings of the same place: St. Maarten and Saint Martin. Interestingly, these two spellings denote the two halves of St. Maarten island, the northern and the southern, owned by the Netherlands and France, respectively.

Both the islands have different governing bodies and somewhat variance in rules. What’s similar is the serenity, public security, and investment returns in both the halves co-owned by the Dutch and the French.

In this blog, we’ll guide you about buying property in St. Maarten – the Dutch-owned territory.

Benefits of Buying Land in St. Maarten

Here are some of the benefits of investing in St. Maarten:

  1. Lucrative and booming real estate sector
  2. Numerous posh neighborhoods and luxurious villas, condos, etc.
  3. No annual property tax
  4. Duty-free shopping all across the southern part of the island
  5. Business opportunities with small capital investment
  6. Safe quality of life and hub of international sea transport
  7. Major Caribbean tourist destination
  8. Not overcrowded hence serene and abundant in resources

Property in St. Maarten

How to Buy Land in St. Maarten

Here’s what you need to do to buy land in St. Maarten as a foreigner:

Find a Consultant

An immigration, business, or relocation agency can help you in many matters when you set foot in St. Maarten. Albeit the processes to acquire land in the region are easier, there is some paperwork and permits involved for which you’ll need the help of a consultant.

Begin the Search

Your consultant or a reliable realtor can help you find the right property to buy on the island. If you’re moving to St. Maarten, look for a villa or condo that’s best for your family’s needs. Size, location, budget, and amenities are some of the key factors in finding the right property. For investment, your realtor will tell you about the lucrative opportunities.

Seal the Deal

Once you have finalized the property, your consultant will fulfill the necessary paperwork requirements of the local government. You can then seal the deal and enjoy the life St. Maarten has to offer.

Settle in St. Maarten

If you plan to live in St. Maarten for the rest of your life, you can obtain a residency permit with the help of an immigration consultant like BrightPath Caribbean. Get in touch with us today to get started.

St. Maarten Immigration policy: Important things you should know

St. Maarten Immigration policy

Resurfacing after the global lock-down of 2020 has been an ever-changing ordeal that has left many St. Maarten business owners often times with more questions than answers – particularly as it relates to immigration policy. Also stemming from the pandemic is a greater interest from foreign employees working from remote, especially in connection to persons offering professional services from the comfort of the Caribbean to the international market.

Most of us that have been living for many years on St Maarten, can recall (particularly prior to the pandemic), when the immigration process was more of a “do-it-yourself” option. There was not a real need for a qualified immigration specialist to ensure your file was truly compliant. Compliance in St Maarten – like in many other jurisdictions – is more likely to be placed at the forefront, as countries make efforts to preserve and protect their respective economies.
Here are some important details you need to consider before advancing on your immigration process in St Maarten:
1. Income earning levels for Guarantors have increased – The minimum requirements for guarantors was previously set at an annual income earnings level of NAF 24,000 (USD 13,334); however, as of June 1st 2021 this minimum threshold has been raised by approximately 50 percent. Additionally, the earnings must now be verified by way of filed tax declarations, supported by bank statements, pay slips, and job letter if required.

2. The difference between indefinite and permanent – Compliance is key everywhere we go and as a non-national legally residing in a foreign country, your stay has direct ties to your compliance and adherence to the local requirements and regulations of that jurisdiction. It is important to emphasize this, because in past many people have mistakenly used the term “permanent” to describe a residency permit that has no explicit expiration date. Non-compliance to tax policy, as well as inability to provide sufficient means of income can be reason for an indefinite residency to be revoked. Please remain mindful that residency permits are not “permanent” and can indeed be rescinded or revoked for non-compliance.

3. Managing Directors must show detailed business activity – Managing director programs are also under more scrutiny to protect the local labor market, as well as to ensure that those being granted a temporary residency permit are actually investing in, and exploiting, a business on island. This must be supported for first-time applicants with evidence of sufficient funds to start the business (a minimum reserve of NAF 36,000/USD 20,000) is the benchmark currently observed. Applicants for extension must show fiscal activity supported by monthly tax declarations, as well as annual tax filings. Although employment of a national is not currently a requirement, it is strongly encouraged.

Choosing your immigration services provider is now, more so than before, a very important decision that can have an impact on your livelihood and plans for many years to come. Verifiable experience, trust and reputation should be your deciding factors rather than simply price and location. The Team at BrightPath consists of multiple members with over 30 years of collective experience in the immigration and business incorporation services sector.

With tens of millions of dollars of client investments to St Maarten with the support of BrightPath, a regional presence in the English-speaking Caribbean, and more than 1,800 files handled in the past 8 years of business – it’s understandable why BrightPath continues to be the most recognized and trusted immigration services provider for the Caribbean.

sint marteen bright path caribbean airplane

What documents do I need to start a business in Sint Maarten


At BrightPath Caribbean, we can provide you with fully integrated and comprehensive services to facilitate you in starting your business in St Maarten.

In order to start a business in St. Maarten, a “Business License” based on the “Vestigingsregeling voor Bedrijven” Ordinance must first be issued. This can be done in the form of a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (N.V. or B.V.) or other as regulated in the Civil Code.

The following require a business license:

  • Dutch nationals not born on St. Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.
  • Foreign nationals
  • A limited liability company (N.V./B.V.) or other entity
  • A locally established sole proprietorship

Trust the experts at BrightPath to guide you in establishing the necessary articles of incorporation for your limited liability company. Additionally, we (BrightPath) submit the request for a Director and Business License at the Minister of Tourism Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT) along with other documents required on the client’s behalf.

Kindly take note of the following:

  • A nonrefundable processing fee must be paid by the applicant
  • Once the Director’s license is approved, a residence permit is required for the foreign national who intends to live on St. Maarten. This must be done by requesting a residence permit at the Department of Immigration, Border Protection Services. Find out more about immigration services at BrightPath by contacting us.
  • In addition to a business license, an Operational License may be required for some businesses. This request is submitted at the TEATT, via the Department of Economic Licenses.

Do you have any questions?


Sint Maarten is a top Caribbean destination for tourism and investment


If you’re ready for your next tropical getaway, but aren’t sure which island is right for you, this blog post can help you choose your next Caribbean destination – whether it’s for business or pleasure. There are many islands to visit in the Caribbean, but St. Maarten is the top Caribbean destination for investment and tourism!

The list below was put together by Ben Souza for CruiseFever and showcases the top Caribbean destinations as decided by travelers.

Top 10 Caribbean Destinations for Tourism and Investment:

10. Roatán: This is an island located on the coast of Honduras, it’s a great tropical getaway with its sandy white beaches. The mild climate and friendly people will make your experience feel simply delightful. Also, Roatán is known for having the second largest coral reef system in the world.

9. Ocho Rios: Located on the coast of Jamaica, known for its world-class resorts and impressive beach clubs. If you are looking to propose, here you will find a wide selection of precious jewelry and gems. You will feel comfortable all-season round, Jamaican style.

8. Oranjestad: This city is the capital of Aruba. It has a combination of antique and modern which makes this island unique. It has accessible beaches that will have you enjoying this small city all day long.

7. St. Kitts: If you enjoy trees and being outdoors, this island located in the West Indies is great for you. It has a wild rainforest that expands all over the island instead of shrinking. It’s also known for its diving and scuba areas if you’re looking for more adventure.

6. San Juan: This popular city is the capital of Puerto Rico. Take a tour in this city and explore every known and historic corner. And you will not have visited San Juan without making a stop at Finca Cialitos, known to be a coffee house where the owner cultivates and roasts his own coffee beans.

5. Grand Turk: The island located in the Caribbean is known for its famous port that has nearly 18 acres of landscape grounds. From blue waters to one of the largest swimming pools of the Caribbean, you will be enjoying nothing but fun.

4. Grand Cayman: The largest of the three Cayman Islands. Discover the beauty of these beaches when looking for relaxation. If you are looking for something more adventurous take a visit to Stingray City, where you will get the play with friendly Southern Stingrays.

3. Cozumel: One of the most visited ports in the Caribbean, will have you in activity once you arrive. This Mexican island has an incredible culture, they don’t think that hospitality it’s just a practice, and they consider it a belief.

2. St. Thomas: Second one on the list is known for its shopping and its Cosmopolitan style. It has the prettiest beaches, stunning panoramic views and exciting nightlife. Take the Skyride 700 feet tall and have an incredible view of the city from above.

1. St. Maarten: And we’ve arrived to the number one top Caribbean destination for tourism and investment! What can’t you do on this island with its architecture and exotic beaches? St Maarten has been voted as the best cruise port in the world for two years in a row. Since cruises arrive daily, the tourism is one of the financial motors of this island. Its cultural and natural wealth makes this island perfect not only to take short vacations but to live here. This island is also called the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean, so looking for good restaurants here will be no problem. St Maarten has a stable growing economy, making it the highest income per capita island on the Caribbean.

At BrightPath Caribbean, we believe in the growing success of this island, so we are here to help you set up your business in St. Maarten. We only handle quality investments that will yield a financial impact both for the investor and the island. Now is the perfect time to initiate your business and stay in St. Maarten with all the advantages this island can provide you.

Do you have any questions?


Work permits and Residency permits in Sint Maarten


If you’re considering living and working in the Caribbean island of St Maarten, here is a useful checklist of documents we will require you to present in order for us to process your immigration request. At BrightPath, we are aware of our responsibility as the most recognized immigration services provider in the region and we thank you for choosing us! If you have questions, or if we can be of service feel free to reach out to us at info@brightpathcaribbean.com

Applicable requirements for Dutch passport holders & US Citizens

Residency permit required: YES

Work permit required: NO

  • Original birth certificate (date of issue less than 3 years); If US Citizen, birth certificate must bear an apostille stamp
  • Original police record (date of issue less than 6 months)
  • Valid passport copy (all pages) with picture page in color
  • Original job letter, confirming start date, position, and income, addressed to St Maarten Immigration & Border Protection Services Department
  • Evidence of valid health insurance
  • Two Dutch-sized passport pictures
  • Original proof of de-registration (for Dutch nationals only)

Applicable requirements Foreign Nationals (Non-Dutch, Non-US Citizens)

Work permit required: YES
Residency permit required: YES

1. From Employer:

  • Proof of Labor Registration for the current year
  • Proof of notification of vacancy, along with supporting job description
  • Copy of bilateral, fully executed Labor Agreement
  • Summary form of monthly taxes (Wage tax/AOV/AWW) showing current payment
  • Evidence of vacancy publication via newspaper ad
  • Relevant application and/or declaration forms, signed and dated

2. From Employee:

  • Copy of all pages of your valid passport
    i) The information page must be in full color
    ii) No cut-offs allowed on the copies and preferably scaled to size
    iii) Validity of passport must be at least six-months out from date of application
  • Original birth certificate, legalized by a Dutch Embassy or bearing an apostille stamp from the country of issuance
    i) This document cannot be older than 3 years; no exceptions
    ii) If issued in a language other than English or Dutch, a certified translation of the same is required. This translation must also be legalized.
  • Original police record
    i) This document cannot be older than 6 months
    ii) Although a legalization by a Dutch Embassy or an apostille stamp from country of issuance is NOT a formal requirement, we encourage obtaining the same when possible.
    iii) NOTE: we reserve the right to refuse police records that are not in original format, are a downloaded version of an internet report, or that cannot be readily verified by our staff.
  • If married, original marriage certificate (if divorced, original divorce decree; if widowed, original death certificate of spouse) legalized by a Dutch Embassy or bearing an apostille stamp from the country of issuance
    i) Either of these documents cannot be older than 3 years; no exceptions
    ii) If issued in a language other than English or Dutch, a certified translation of the same is required. This translation must also be legalized.
  • If applying for your spouse and/or minor children
    i) Note items a through d apply for the spouse
    ii) Note items a through b apply for the children, along with evidence of school registration in St Maarten. This will be applicable for each child over 4 years of age.
  • Evidence of sufficient income from the petitioning applicant to support the request, and to stand as guarantor for the same may also be required
    i) NOTE: if one of the parents of the minor child is remaining abroad, an original, notarized letter of consent along with valid passport identification of that parent will also be required.
  • Evidence of valid health insurance
  • Two Dutch-sized passport pictures
  • Copies of diplomas, certificates, and/or reference letters, duly notarized, preferably from the country of origin.

Do you have any questions?


Top reasons why you should consider moving to Sint Maarten


If you are a citizen of the United States and you are considering starting a business, working, or retiring in the Caribbean, here are some reasons why Sint Maarten should be on the top of your list. As the most recognized regional immigration services provider, operating throughout the English-speaking Caribbean, the team at BrightPath can offer you objective advice, as well as reliable immigration and relocation services in order for you and your family to safely move to the Caribbean.

Here are some important facts that make Sint Maarten a very attractive destination for US nationals wanting to relocate abroad:

1) The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty: Under article 3 paragraph 1 sub f. of the National Ordinance on Admission and Expulsion, Dutch citizens born outside of Sint Maarten (or the former Netherlands Antilles), will be legally admitted to Sint Maarten under the following two conditions – (i) Certificate of Conduct; and (ii) Housing and sufficient means to provide in their own livelihood.

What does this mean? In summary, if you can prove no criminal background and that you have sufficient verifiable funds, BrightPath can start your immigration process to get you legal residency.

Why does this benefit US nationals? Because under The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, US Nationals are given equal privileges as Dutch citizens born outside of Sint Maarten and/or The Former Netherlands Antilles

Will obtaining residency affect your status as a US passport holder? The answer is no. You keep your US passport and you also acquire the right to live, work, retire, or even start your business on Sint Maarten.

2) Tax Benefits: Sint Maarten has no property taxes. Yes, that means you can purchase real estate here and not have to worry about annual property taxes. It’s absolutely property tax-free. There are also no taxes on goods or services and no capital gains tax. You can also import all your personal belongings free of any taxes because there are no custom duties on imported goods.

3) Real Estate and Banking: Sint Maarten’s real estate sector is holding strong with retained values on property, and in many cases, showing appreciation over time. Although the official currency is the Netherlands Antillean Florin (NAf), transacting in United States currency is widely practiced with no licensing required for bank accounts in US dollars. Internationally recognized banks still continue to operate on island, offering a stable banking system, with little to no sign of change in the foreseeable future.

Do you have any questions?


Incorporate a new business in Sint Maarten


Are you looking to open a business in St. Maarten? BrightPath Caribbean handles every aspect of opening a new business in St. Maarten, regardless of nationality. We will guide you through the entire process, from drafting your company articles to submitting and obtaining all required business certificates and licenses.

St. Maarten is the ideal Caribbean island on which to open a new business, since it carries a duty-free status and has no foreign-exchange controls. With help from BrightPath Caribbean, we can help you open a new business in St. Maarten in as little as 6 weeks (conditions may apply)!

The following individuals require a business license in St. Maarten:

  • Dutch Nationals NOT born on St. Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.
  • Foreign Nationals (Americans may qualify for our Express Service).
  • A Limited Liability Company (N.V. / B.V.) or other.

BrightPath Caribbean can make it easy to start a business in beautiful St. Maarten! We have the experience to guide you every step of the way; we will send you document checklists, obtain licenses on your behalf at government offices and even open your business bank account for you. We know that starting a new business requires a lot of time and hard work, which is why we handle all the paperwork for you, from drafting your first company articles to submitting and obtaining all St. Maarten government business licenses.

To start a business in St. Maarten, the following documents are required:

New business application form (completed and signed).

  • Original police check (no older than 6 months).
  • 2 proofs of address (utility bill, cell phone bill, etc.).
  • 2 government-issued IDs.
  • Color copy of passport.

Are you planning to open a limited liability company or partnership in St. Maarten? If so, you’ll need to send a letter to the Executive Council of the Island of St. Maarten.

What a limited liability company or partnership request letter must include:

  1. The name of the business.
  2. The name of the business owner.
  3. The nature and objectives of the business.
  4. The investment capital available.
  5. The place of establishment.

After opening a business in St. Maarten, you will need to visit the Department of Economic Licenses to obtain a business license, an operational license (if applicable) and any director licenses needed.

Submit the following documents to the Department of Economic Licenses:

  1. A letter (in Dutch) addressed to the Executive Council requesting a business license.
  2. A copy of the director’s(s) passport.
  3. A copy of the director’s curriculum vitae.
  4. A copy of your diploma(s) certificate(s) of director (s) (only needed to show certain expertise).
  5. A copy of your police record of director (s) with foreign nationality. (not valid after six months).
  6. The exact address of the business.
  7. Your present home or mailing address.
  8. Your current telephone number.

Please note, that once your new St. Maarten business license is issued, a residency permit is required for all individuals planning on living in St. Maarten for longer than their travel visa allows. This must be done by requesting a residence permit at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Service, which BrightPath Caribbean can help you set-up after the St. Maarten business license is approved.

Unlike other Caribbean countries – with the right professional help – it is very easy to open a new business in St. Maarten. There are no large investment requirements, and the process isn’t incredibly lengthy, especially for American citizens.

Do you have any questions?


Obtain Legal Residency in St. Maarten Through Real Estate


Often times, in our day-to-day interactions with colleagues in the real estate sector, as well vacation home-owners that have their primary home abroad, we run into this scenario. Many people that have purchased real estate on the island don’t even realize that this may give them the option to apply and likely qualify to obtain legal residency on the island. Having legal residency on the island is helpful if you wish to transition into a more “permanent” Caribbean lifestyle – not to mention, it’ll save you the long lines at the airport on arrival!

As the most recognized immigration services provider on the island, we at BrightPath are happy to provide you with the services required. However, it is important that you gather your paperwork to start the process. Below is a checklist with the items you’ll need to have on hand to start the process:

  • A color copy of your passport, all pages included
  • Original birth certificate, legalized by a Dutch Embassy or bearing an apostille stamp. Neither item can have a date of issue older than 3 years. If issued in a language other than Dutch or English, a certified translation will be required
  • Original police record issued within the past 6 months. Also, if issued in a language other than Dutch or English, a certified translation will be required
  • If married, widowed, and/or divorced: Original marriage/death and/or divorce certificate, legalized by a Dutch Embassy or bearing an apostille stamp. Neither item can have a date of issue older than 3 years. If issued in a language other than Dutch or English, a certified translation will be required
  • Evidence by way of deed of transfer that a property has been purchased in St Maarten for an amount equal or greater to USD 255,000

As an added service, we can also assist in obtaining the required certificates and/or related legalizations depending on your country of origin.

Do you have any questions?


BrightPath Caribbean